111. Hang The DJ

Tapehead no 111

Once in a while, you get a glimpse of what Shooting Stars could be like. 

This week’s savage, surreal, moment comes when What-Are-The-Scores-George-Dawes turns on special guest Dave Lee Travis and, in his best cockney barrow-boy accent, asks: “Ere you seen Pretty Woman ?”


“So what !?” Dawes shouts, suddenly menacing. “It’s been on telly four times. It’s on video. What ? You’re a film buff now, are ya ?”

Vic and Bob, on the other hand, are too cosy with celebrity to antagonise or humiliate their guest. Which is a shame. There doesn’t seem much point in having DLT on unless it’s to savage him.

Last week, when they winched up Ulrika was the first time she’s actually served any purpose. As pin-ups go. Ulrika is a dull icon: neither charmingly stupid or smart enough; just a weather-girl.

This is not to say that Tapehead doesn’t always join in with Vic’s crooning club singer and admire Mark Lamarr’s apathy and amusement. (Lamarr is one of the few radio personalities to have worked out that on TV, you should say as little as possible.) But surely the impressions round should be more humiliating or personal. 

What Chris Morris would have done if he’d got DLT on his new show Brass Eye is anyone’s guess.

Brass Eye looks as if it’ll be even better than The Day Today because it’s all Morris. The sight of his Paxman character jacking up what The Guardian calls “smack heroin” gives you an idea of Morris’s edge, especially when he turns to face the camera and states: “the heroin I use is harmless. But what about other people less stable, less educated, less middle class, than myself ? Builders. Or blacks, for example.”

The naval officer’s objections to gays being in the navy will surely become legendary.

“Homosexuals can’t swim. They attract enemy radar. They get up late. They nudge people while they’re shooting.”

And unlike Never Mind The Buzzcocks… at least Brass Eye’s theme tune is funny.

Watching TFI Friday these days makes Tapehead long for The Word which, after two years off air, is (bizarrely) being revived as a series of three-minute Pepsi adverts in between Baywatch and Gladiators.

Evidently brief highlights include snippets of Terry Christian interviews, men eating ‘dog food pies’ in The Hopefuls, and sex kitten Dani Behr the girl with more footballers on her books than Birmingham City.

It’s easier to remember something funny from The Word than it is from TFI Friday. And if Chris Evans ever does a sketch or a joke that is actually funny, you can be sure he’ll repeat it, continue, it, or re-show it in slow motion until it isn’t – a sign of a truly mediocre entertainer. 

The desk-drilling thing summed it up.

Evans’s comic instinct is so poor on TV that he can’t even employ good gag writers. This leaves him simply gabbling away to his own ego. He starts every show commenting on what people have been saying about him that week, like a very low-rent (ginger) Eastern European leader, and is continually referring to his production office crew – as if anyone (even them) is interested !

“Did that gag work, Danny ?” must surely be on the likes of television’s all-time ‘no-no’s. Hiring Danny Baker (another DJ-with-delusions whose TV shows are now used as manuals entitled How Not To Do TV Comedy) is bad enough. But to keep mentioning it only reminds us of the mistake.

The sight of Evans showing off the Beatles’ posters he’d bought at auction for pathetically inflated prices and saying: “I’m trying, okay ? I’m trying to spend the money you pay me” showed how complacent, indulgent, and dull he has become: a man whose idea of cool is defined purely by his own success and has no connection with his audience at all. 

As DLT, Danny Baker, and now Chris Evans prove: once a DJ, always a DJ.


The Word: Sat, 6.15pm, ITV

Brass Eye: Tues, 10.35pm, C4

TFI Friday: Fri, 6pm & 11.10pm, C4

Shooting Stars: Fri, 9pm, BBC2